Timber Lanes Bowling Alley

1851 W Irving Park Rd Chicago

Irving Park Brown Line/Timber Lanes Bowling Alley
Chicago Scene
Written By Chicago Scene

“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago

Timber Lanes is a piece of Chicago history since its inception until modern days. Some say the place is still haunted as it was originally built upon ancient Native American burial ground. It then became a safe house on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War and, later on, the home of the firemen who put out the Chicago Fire. When the building became a bowling alley, the lanes were made with wood that survived the fire to honor those men. During Prohibition, it was a speakeasy where high profile Americans from Al Capone to Babe Ruth and Charlie Chaplin got up to some illegal antics away from public sight. It was then an ammunition factory to help the war effort and a fallout shelter during the Cold War. For a bowling alley, it’s a very loaded history.

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Today, it operates as normal, open every day and cheaper on weekdays, each day going late into the AMs. Parties can rent out one or more lanes, depending on their needs. Timber Lanes also offers private lessons and league alike for more competitive folks. Be aware that it is all cash only! The bowling itself has an old style classic feel and you need to hand-score your bowling, however, keeps some important people coming. John Goodman would come in very often to work on his game in preparation for his role in The Big Lebowski, and more recently, President Barack Obama was a visitor of the alleys too!

Besides bowling, Timber Lanes has a full bar, a jukebox, and a small arcade to keep you further entertained.

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